"An alliance is like.... " is a phrase that you may have heard when discussing different organizations in the Cyberverse. If you haven't heard the phrase, then perhaps you thought of it in your head. There are several analogies that often come up. Some are useful and some are not. Lately, these are a few that have been going through my head:
An Alliance is like a country:
This is of course, probably the most common analogy. Alliances are typically structured to have a government, selected in one way or another, various departments, and a membership (or citizenship). In some ways, this is a very accurate analogy - it's as if a bunch of independent states banded together to form a government that had some centralized power (a la The United States of America, with its 50 states). The departments and government positions are typically named in the manner of countries: "Emperor," "ministry," "president," and "coalition" are just some of the terms thrown around, which typically depict an image of government organization. Additionally, the whole idea of foreign relations revolves around a nation mindset. Going to war, declaring peace, and signing treaties are all nation-like activities. So what's the flaw?
Citizens of a country are typically bound by geographic boundaries. In other words, if you live in a particular area, you have no choice but to obey the rules and laws of your country. However, individuals in the Cyberverse are not bound by geographic boundaries, and thus pretty much have the freedom to leave and join alliances at their will. Of course, this unique trait of the Cyberverse means that there is one essential ministry - the recruitment ministry - which most alliances have, in order to account for when players leave an alliance.
An Alliance is like a company:
This analogy has some weight, and comes up every once in a while when an alliance is formed with a company theme. There is usually a head of the alliance (president of the company), and various ministries with their various ministers (vice presidents and their departments). More over, the company analogy neatly solves the problem presented in the "country" analogy. Employees can come come and go in a company just as members can come and go in an alliance. This analogy is also useful for targeting certain players who have done some kind of wrong against one alliance. Should one member be overly annoying, and cause inner turmoil in an alliance, once that member is kicked out, the original alliance may tell other alliances not to accept this member.
The problem with the "company" analogy is that a company buys or sells some kind of commodity. However, do alliances really buy or sell something? In one respect, they sell their image to potential recruits. By "buying" the image of the alliance (gaining membership), the member gets something they want, and in return, they give their company/alliance their price - nation strength, activity, whatever else. The problem is that as a commodity, alliance membership is not necessarily a scarcity issue (except for select alliances), and therefore the price is particularly low. In fact, this analogy seems odd considering that most alliances will offer start up aid...so its like companies are giving out NS for free.
In another respect, alliances sell their image to potential MDP partners. However, the commodity is both bought and sold by both the consumer and the producer, so this part of the analogy does not particularly work. However, alliances, like companies can make alliances and produce the same commodity in conjunction with each other. However, this inter-alliance pact does not necessarily enhance the ability for an individual alliance to sell their product, but simply enhances their stability (to a point).
An Alliance is like a person:
This analogy has lately been my favorite one. When discussing the "health" of an alliance, it sounds mostly biological. We grow, we move (have a direction), have internal organs (internal affairs ministries), and make connections and relationships with other people/alliances. Alliances, like individuals, have a personality of their own, and their own mentality. What is also interesting about this analogy is that it is not necessarily apparent to onlookers how healthy the alliance is. A person, like an alliance can look healthy on the outside while their insides are in decay. However, like a person, an alliance needs to keep its insides healthy if it is to stay alive and well in the foreseeable future. Additionally, this analogy is useful for describing if an alliance has "fat" (has a high percentage of low NS, inactive nations), or has "muscle" (high percentage of high NS, active nations).
The problem should be relatively clear. Cells in the body do not have a choice to be a part of the body, and cannot easily leave or join the body. However individual people can easily join or leave an alliance, similar to the arguments made about the problems in the "country analogy."
So that's it for now. If you have an interesting analogy to share, please do. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this entry.